Girls and Education: Four Reasons for a Brighter Future
Historically, and in many parts of the world, we have seen women and girls take the back seat in education. Some may wonder why this is, and the answer is long-winded, but simply put – many societies do not value the education of women and girls because they are not valued socially. Although in many societies, the tradition of keeping women and girls at home may be the dominant narrative, when given the opportunity, educating more women and girls has remarkable benefits for the local community and society as a whole. Besides a basic human right, equal education for men and women is essential to driving social change and economic change.
The community that TYO serves faces limited economic opportunities as it is. Additionally, girls in the Nablus community are susceptible to early marriage and therefore early pregnancy. Breaking that tradition and empowering girls through education can break the cycles of poverty in just one generation. How? Educated girls understand and can defend rights, and therefore will marry and have children later in addition to educating their children. And the result? Not only are they empowered as individuals, but also their families and communities thrive.
From my first month at TYO, I have seen how that idea is at the core of TYO’s approach: TYO serves the Nablus community through empowering individuals and families, an act that starts a ripple effect in addressing larger societal issues, such as gender-based inequality.
So what does it take to empower girls through education? The first initiative should be parental and community involvement. It goes without saying that families and communities must partner with schools to develop curricula and ensure the quality of children’s education. TYO takes exactly that approach to improving the quality and impact of education for children in Nablus; as a multi-generational organization, our educational programs target not only children and youth, but also their parents. Through The Women’s Group, we educate mothers in order to ensure that their children’s education extends beyond school walls and into the home.
In the end, we know that empowering and educating girls educates an entire family and society, leads to social change, strengthens families against domestic violence, and drives economic growth. That makes four reasons to support empowering girls through education – and certainly seeing the excitement of TYO’s Core Child Program 4-8 year-old girls, and getting to know our strong-willed and fun-loving women in the women’s empowerment programs, would give you one more.
- Ashley, TYO Summer 2015 Intern